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Illegible Scrawls

After years of consciously avoiding using paper and keeping digital notes I finally seem to have gone back to old hard copy. It all started with the Apple Newton way back at the beginning of the nineties - I bought one on a business trip down to London and never looked back... well, until both Apple and I finally gave up on it and it was relegated to the back of a drawer. It may have been billed as fitting into a jacket pocket, but keeping it there looked as if you were carrying either a gun or a big book inside your suit. Still, the software it ran was more advanced than any pda today - you could simply scrawl 'Lunch with Andrew tomorrow' and without any further prompting it would add a lunch appointment into your diary for the next day and decide which Andrew you were most likely to be meeting.

After that came some dark years of paper - my life was a mess of notes scrawled on tiny bits of paper and card lying around everywhere, none of which I could ever find. Then, one sunny day in Florida I discovered the Palm Organiser. Smaller, cheaper, more stupid than my old Newton, and looking like an overgrown plastic calculator, it let me keep notes, expenses, addresses, and run basic programs. I was hooked and I carried it everywhere, gradually moving to more exotic models as I broke or lost them over time.

Over the years, however, Palm stopped innovating, and what had once been a simple, reliable interface, became totally out of date. I went through a few phones that looked like they could handle what my Palm used to do, none of them were really useable for that all important purpose of keeping notes, and now that I was carrying a phone I didn't really want to carry a Palm as well.

So, on this recent trip to Thailand I began experimenting with paper notebooks again, partly because of the above reasons, and partly because it's not everywhere you want to pull out a pda. The result was that I kept more travel notes on the trip than ever before, plus being able to paste tickets, receipts, and local things into the notebook added a nice touch.

Convinced that paper does serve a purpose after all, I returned to Europe and immediately bought a couple of Moleskin notebooks. The marketing blurb goes on about how they were allegedly used by Picasso and lots of famous others, but beneath that they're genuinely lovely notebooks and a real pleasure to use. Like infamous black books with elastic bands to keep them closed, the paper has a lovely look and feel to it and they ooze quality. Now if only I could remember how to write properly and figure out how to sync them with my mac.


how about a blackberry?

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